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Straight Actors Who Have Played Gay Characters

Updated September 12, 2019 132.3k views70 items

List of gay characters played by straight actors, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. One of the great things about being an actor is you get to play characters that are different from yourself. Many straight actors who have played gay characters have won awards for their performances. Several TV shows feature straight actors playing gay roles.

Who is the most famous straight actor who has played a gay character? Tom Hanks tops our list. Hanks played Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who was fired for having HIV, in "Philadelphia." He won his first Academy Award for the performance. He has been married to his wife Rita Wilson since 1988. Other actors who have won Oscars for playing gay characters include Hilary Swank, Christopher Plummer, and Charlize Theron.

Some people may be surprised to learn that Eric Stonestreet, the actor best known for playing Cameron Tucker on "Modern Family," is actually straight. He is not married, but he refers to himself as "openly straight." Michael C. Hall played David Fisher, a gay funeral director, on the HBO show "Six Feet Under." Hall was married to his "Dexter" co-star Jennifer Carpenter from 2008–2011.

Do you think that it is difficult for a straight actor to participate in gay love scenes? The actors below have done it quite well. 

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  • Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for an Oscar for his role as gay ranch hand Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain (2005). He is the godfather of his co-star Heath Ledger's daughter. Gyllenhaal has been romantically linked to Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon, and Taylor Swift.

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    • Charlize Theron won an Oscar for playing Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who went on a killing spree, in Monster (2003). Theron dated Stuart Townsend for almost 10 years, but the couple split in 2010.

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      • Heath Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy who fell in love with another man, in Brokeback Mountain (2003). Ledger had a daughter with his girlfriend Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain.

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        • Jared Leto was nominated for an Oscar when he transformed himself to play Rayon, a transvestite suffering with AIDS, in Dallas Buyers Club (2013). Leto was engaged to Cameron Diaz from 2000-2003.

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